Thanks for all of your great stories

Our Corner

What an incredible opportunity it is to be a features reporter for The Courier-Herald.

I love it.

You’ve told your stories. I’ve listened; then tried my best to share them with our readers. Each story – whether for our business, education or Lifewaves sections, has represented your dreams, goals and passions for life; some of them like one woman’s convictions that every child should have the right to fit in with their peers at school. Equipped with donated quality clothing and supplies, they’re free to pursue their dreams – and who knows where that may lead? Her convictions have become reality, thanks to supportive communities, volunteers and a visionary named Carol Wells Reed.

I think of another woman I wrote about who embodies a zest for teaching others to read. The way she sees it, the words “I can’t” aren’t in her vocabulary. She calls herself a tutor; I call her a confidence booster named Janice Alonzo.

There are the faithful volunteers, too many to name individually, who’ve had their 15 minutes of fame in our papers – although that’s the last thing they’d ever seek. They’re living out their retirement by helping out at local senior centers. These volunteers have always been willing to talk with me.

In fact, I’ll bet you a week’s worth of pay I could never slip right in and out of a senior center to cover a story without one of them asking if I’d like something to eat, or if I have time to pull up a chair and talk over a cup of hot coffee; those moments have given me some pretty good story material, too, by the way. They have the knack for adding the seasoning of friendship to our daily routines – making the world go ‘round because they strive to put others first. I hope I’ll be like them some day.

Then there are the students who’ve shared their own stories. From a high school piano teacher to a teen seeking hat donations for cancer patients; from those who serve lunches for summer feeding programs, to youths who leave their comfort zones to study abroad. They are the reasons I have so much hope in our younger generation.

“I’m not doing anything special,” they usually say. But I know otherwise.

Writing your stories has taken a keen ear and an open mind. Some of my most meaningful interviews took place after I set my pen down on top of my reporter’s notebook, sat back and just let you talk. At times, you laughed and cried; I did, too – especially when you shared bragging rights to your kids’ accomplishments, spoke of life’s struggles during World War II or expressed your grief after losing a loved one.

All of these have made my job so much fun.

But now, I’m moving on in order to make as many memories with my family as possible and also further my freelance writing career. I’ll miss listening to your stories. But I have no doubt you’ll have a few good stories to share with my replacement – just remember, if they happen to stop by the senior centers, pull up a chair and offer them a cup of hot coffee; they’ll be all ears.

What an incredible opportunity to have been a features reporter for The Courier-Herald. Thanks for sharing your stories.

I’ve loved it.